If you’re too busy in the day to run, do it at night
Even though a lot of people say that exercise is best done in the morning, it’s just not possible for some of us. If you’re always too busy in the day or can’t will yourself to wake up early, then do it at night. It may not be the most conventional, but you have reason to believe that it’s that worth doing.
If you’re like me who doesn’t want to be bothered during their workout, then running at night might be for you. No more awkward greetings and narrowly avoiding that one guy who’s going the opposite direction. Less crowds also mean you can run as fast and as hard as you can without disturbing anybody so if you’re thinking of doing some interval runs, after dark is the time to do so.
When you live in a tropical country, one of the biggest challenges isn’t the run itself but the temperature. That means daylight running can be unreasonably hot. Sure, you can probably beat the morning sun, but that’ll mean waking up early to run, which works for some people.
Night running is optimal for people who want to minimize the damaging effects of the sun or for those with sensitive skin. Overexposure to the sun’s rays can cause skin damage and even cancer. Studies do say, though, that the sun is less harmful before 10 a.m.; the time after that is when the sun is at its highest and strongest.
Some people say that exercising at night can ruin sleep. While it does seem to make sense since exercise raises overall body temperature and heart rate, studies also show that running and aerobic exercises can help improve sleep quality. But one day of running isn’t going to make you sleep better—you’re going to feel it after three to four weeks of continuous training. One thing to remember though is that aerobic exercises should be done two hours before sleeping and intense exercise four hours before. This is because exercise stimulates your nervous system, so it’ll take some time to settle down depending on what you do.
Your muscles are at their peak
What a lot of people don’t know is that muscles are at their best when it’s late afternoon and evening. This is the time when muscles are most supple and your temperature is at its peak, so you might notice that you can go harder and longer at night. A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that you can gain more muscle when you train in the evening than in the morning or afternoon.
Tips if you want to run at night
Safety is your number one priority
Run against traffic
When you’re out running, make sure you’re running on the side that’s facing traffic. This is so you can see any oncoming vehicles and they can see you.
Bring lights and wear bright clothes
You want as much visibility as you can at night, so wear your brightest outfit. It’s not that hard to find reflective shoes and clothes. When carrying reflectors or lights, place them on your joints so vehicles can differentiate you from an object and give them an idea on what direction you’re headed.
Run with someone
The buddy system can ward off potential threats when you’re out running. If you can’t have someone with you for some reason, let someone know about your whereabouts in case something happens.
Leave your earphones
With less lights to rely on, you have to be in a heightened state. You can still listen to music, but make sure the volume isn’t too loud so you can still hear cars or the surroundings.
Use familiar routes
There are a lot of suspicious people who hang around after dark, so don’t go exploring or testing out new paths. It’s easy to get lost if you can’t clearly see your surroundings after all.